Friday, December 18, 2009

Year End - Best of 2009 - Recap

Once again, I'm posting this before the end of the year. Things tend to wind down in November and December. And with the trend of not being able to find willing partners continuing, this blog entry started getting written up early. So usually Winter is not in full swing, and the warmer weather activities are no longer available in the PNW. Perhaps in a future year I'll take a November trip to Joshua Tree or Red Rocks to keep the climbing going.

Unlike last year, this year does not have a stand out. So I'll write a few things down and perhaps by the end of a bunch of paragraphs I'll have a winner. Perhaps one of the reasons there is no clear pick at this time is that I got to do a lot of amazing outings this year. Heck, the hike Jennifer and I took to the Mer de Glace in Chamonix could easily place high in the list. Or for that matter the whole trip to France. But I am going to exclude the France trip which would win for other reasons and keep the contenders to outings in the backcountry or outdoors. I'm going to start by listing some highlights and we'll see what happens.

First, I'd like to say that the Mount Adams ski trip was my favorite ski trip ever, so it would have to be in the running. I couldn't see doing the easy route without being on skis. And it was worth it. The skiing was some of the best I've ever done as well. It was nice to summit another Cascades volcano (five total for me now.) Even with the horrible AMS I had, the trip is still a contender.

While not a specific climb, my trip with Julie to Squamish was possibly the best rock climbing trip I have ever had. We climbed multiple four star routes and I had a great friend to share it with. We also climbed about 35 pitches which is probably the most I've climbed in a four day span. And while climbing routes like Diedre and Calculus Crack were fantastic, I cannot say definitively they were the top highlight of my year.

And while on the topic of climbing multiple four star routes, my trip to Peshastin with Julie is equally as memorable as the one to Squamish. While it was a backup plan, we had a great time and climbed well on multiple four star routes. Thinking about the trip makes me eager to return to Peshastin again. Although with Winter here, it will have to wait until Spring.

Another topic to talk about is all the goals I accomplished from my objectives. While the trips may not have been memorable or super enjoyable while doing them, they hold a special place with me because they were objectives I set out to do and accomplished them. They would include my ski trips of Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams, my climbs of Prusik Peak and South Early Winter Spire, and my scramble of Three Fingers.

An unexpected highlight would be the climb of Mount Rainier. (Thanks Josh) A couple of the guys pressured me into doing it earlier in the year, and while I also was once again afflicted with AMS, (unlike my previous Mount Rainier summit) it was an enjoyable trip which renewed my love affair with the mountain. I think I may attempt to climb Mount Rainier by a different route each year.

And while it may be more memorable for the epic Steve and I had, Forbidden was a nice trip as well. However, as I stated last year it is difficult to remove the emotions from the climb. Although I had a great time with Steve and he is a great partner, there were many moments burned in my memory of fear and doubt that may overcome this climb's position as being the best of the year. (And I guess technically the best should also have a better success story as climbing in better style.)

Another possibility is the late comer Chair Peak. I had been itching to get another Snoqualmie Pass summit, and this fit the bill with a fun and not too hard route. It probably receives a higher placing due to its recent occurrence, but it was pretty special just the same.

Now with the main contenders on the table, it is time to make a decision. And the winner is: Me! Having so many great trips to choose from really makes me the winner. But, in all seriousness, I think the Mount Adams ski was the top trip of the year. While the AMS was a drawback, it showed me how susceptible I could be to that ailment. The rest of the trip was great!. Although we did the climb in 12 hours, we didn't have to come out by headlamp and that always leaves a positive impression that you had done things correctly. Also, it is possibly the longest ski run I have done and I skied it well. This was a major accomplishment considering I have only been skiing for two years.

Here's to hoping I have a bumper crop to choose from next year.

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